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@School: Jackie Jeffers

Nov. 2, 2008 — Jackie Jeffers, a senior at the Manor School in La Grande Princess, can't wait to graduate, finish college, come back to St. Croix and live her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse.
"I have wanted to be a nurse since I was five," Jeffers says. "People made fun of me watching the Discovery Health Channel when I was little."
There is a real need for nurses on St. Croix and she feels compelled to help people, especially children, she says.
"I really love children and have been able to work and play with them at the nursery at South Gate Baptist Church," Jeffers says. "I will be tutoring a younger student here at school, too."
Jeffers, born on St. Croix, is the daughter of George and Genevieve Jeffers. She has two brothers and one sister.
When asked about problems youth have today, she attributes the problems to lack of parental involvement.
"Parents don't care about their kids," Jefffers says. "They have to have rules set — they can't act like your best friend."
It is apparent her family has helped keep Jeffers on the right track in life.
"My family is very close-knit, and I'm really close to my dad," Jeffers says. "He spoils me, but he has also taught me morals, values and to respect myself. He has told me my mom is important and to do as she says."
Jeffers is also very close to her older brother, Morris. In fact, Jeffers has applied to Bethume Coakley University in Daytona Fla., so she can be close to Morris, who lives in that area.
"Morris was always there for me and very important in my life," Jeffers says. "We would go to parks, play basketball, have fun and talk."
Her involvement in her church and her faith has also had an affect on her life.
"I have learned to love everyone, to share and be forgiving no matter what," she says. She is active in the church youth group, volunteers at the Light House Mission and sings soprano in the choir. Choir practice keeps her busy two days a week.
Jeffers also keeps busy playing the steel pan, which she has done for four years in an after-school program at the Manor School.
"I love playing steel pan," Jeffers says. "It is a lot of fun taking part in the annual Pan Fest in December at Island Center."
Her creativity also extends to the visual arts. She began to do watercolors and oil pastels in an art class in ninth grade and found she enjoyed art. She loves to paint with watercolors.
"I had a still-life watercolor make it to St. Thomas as a semifinalist for the congressional art show in Washington, D.C.," she says.
Academically she has always tried to do her very best — at times crying daily with frustration. She started school at St. Croix Christian School and entered public school in the third grade at Pearl B. Larsen. Her third grade teacher, Mrs. Cannonier, really encouraged and influenced her, telling her to always "shoot for the stars."
"It was different going to public school with a lot more kids and all their different backgrounds," Jeffers says. "It was hard because I was really shy then, too."
It took her awhile to adjust.
"Public school was easy for me," she says. "But in seventh grade I transferred to Country Day School, where I felt a lot of pressure with academics pushed on me. I cried daily until I became best friends with Becky Bass. Becky and I are still best friends today."
Jeffers made a smooth transition in the ninth grade when she transferred to the Manor School, where she continued to excel and consistently makes the honor roll. The small classes and one-on-one attention helped her, she says.
The principal at the Manor School speaks of Jeffers as an all-around good student.
"Jackie is truly an exceptional young lady," says Principal Judith Gadd. "She is an outstanding scholar, athlete, artist and musician. She does everything well, and she is a strong leader."
Jeffers is the president of her senior class and has held other offices every year.
"I was elected president because of my organizational skills," she says.
She also plays volleyball and basketball, garnering awards for both sports.
Jeffers says she will be the first in her family to graduate from college.
"Jackie enjoys school and has never been any problem," says her mother, Genevieve Jeffers. "I trust in God to help her with everything."
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